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VERIFY: Are undocumented immigrants eligible for federal benefits?

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for major federal public benefits, but they may be eligible for emergency medical care.

HOUSTON — A KHOU viewer asked our Verify team to look into whether someone who is in the U.S. illegally can receive welfare or other student government programs.

Our Verify researchers checked the law books, U.S. Code title 8, chapter 14, which covers this topic. It reveals undocumented immigrants are not eligible for major federal public benefits like Medicaid, Medicare, welfare, social security, the children’s health insurance program, disability, food assistance and health insurance.

However, undocumented immigrants may be eligible for emergency medical care, including emergency room visits and to receive benefits from the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children.

Undocumented immigrants can also get emergency disaster relief – if it’s not cash – and immunizations from public health departments. Undocumented children have access to public education from head start all the way to high school.

We can verify it is false undocumented immigrants are eligible for welfare. They can get some emergency help, but nowhere near what U.S. citizens get.